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PETALING JAYA: Bursa Malaysia Bhd is keeping to its earlier expectations of 31 new listings for 2021, according to its CEO Datuk Muhamad Umar Swift.

Year to date, the exchange has completed 21 new listings across its three boards, including the world’s first syariah-compliant China A-Shares ETF, while two, IGB Commercial REIT on the Main Market and Lim Seong Hai Capital on LEAP Market, will be completed in the coming months.

“Although, we’re doing slightly better at this point in time as we move into the second half of the financial year and of course we hope to do better,” he told the media at Bursa’s H1’2021 financial results briefing today.

“To be frank, the key catalyst to an IPO is pricing as well as the depth of our capital market and our attractiveness.”

Umar said the listing of CTOS Digital Bhd earlier this month indicated that there is a clear appetite for good assets and this is going to attract even more assets to the market.

Moving forward, he believes the key lies in meeting promoters’ expectations as well as investor’s expectations around pricing. “Looking at our market at the moment, our forward PE is very competitive vis-a-vis other marketplaces. That being said, all IPOs have been exceptionally well received this year.”

With regard to this issue, Bursa Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar revealed that there has been a lot of interest as various potential issuers, participating organisations and investment banks have approached the bourse.

“Some of the recent listings such as CTOS Digital and Mr DIY had encouraged a lot more digital companies to explore potential listings.”

The current challenging circumstance notwithstanding, Wahid expressed optimism over growing interest from more issuers coming on the market.

“As we ramp up vaccination with the aim of having the majority of the adult population being vaccinated nationwide by end-October, this will facilitate the reopening of the economy, with that the pace of improvement is expected to grow even better.”

For the second quarter ended June 30, 2021, Bursa’s net profit rose 3.2% to RM88.97 million from RM86.23 million reported for the same quarter of the previous year attributed to higher operating revenue from the securities market division despite higher operating expenses.

Revenue for the quarter rose 9.1% to RM196.1 million from RM179.78 million previously.

The exchange achieved its highest ever first-half results since its listing in 2005, as net profit jumped 39.4% to RM210.36 million from RM150.96 million in the corresponding half of the previous year. Revenue stood at RM428.37 million, a 29.6% increase from RM330.53 million previously.

Bursa declared an interim dividend of 24.0 sen per share to be paid on Aug 27, 2021. This represents a dividend payout ratio of 92.3%.

“Bursa Malaysia remains well positioned to grow sustainably and responsibly. The volatility in the securities market and sustained low interest rate environment is expected to continue attracting investments and trading,” Wahid said.

For the first half of 2021, Bursa Malaysia’s trading revenue from the securities market increased by 41.4%, to RM266.1 million from RM188.2 million in H1’20, attributed to a higher average daily trading value (ADV) of RM4.4 billion.

Given the challenging economic and pandemic situation, Wahid acknowledged that the ADV has moderated and the market has been moving sideways. However, he emphasised the need to view this in the right context with the national recovery plan and vaccination rollout as well as companies returning to profitability which in turn will be reflected in the results as well as the sentiment.

“Since the first of July, the ADV has come down to RM3 billion which remains significantly higher than the RM1.9 billion average seen in 2019. Of course this has come down from the average of RM4.4 billion in the H1’21 and as the economy reopens hopefully, there’ll be more trading activities,” said the chairman.

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